ECU research on Alzheimer's disease makes progress

GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) ECU researchers have been studying the proteins that cluster together to form a neurodegenerative disease and say their research is showing promise.

With their newly developed tool, the CofActor System, they can replicate these clusters using light and potentially see what can stop them from forming.

"What we're trying to understand is how important they are to the progression of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's disease," said one of the researchers and a biological chemistry assistant professor at ECU, Robert Hughes.

Hughes said this could be the first step in finding a new and effective treatment for Alzheimer's.

Collin O'Bryant, an ECU graduate student involved in the research, is hopeful for what this could mean for Alzheimer's patients in the future. "Especially with this research, I hope that we can get something that will help them to live out their life and not slowly just kind of fade out of existence," he said.

The researchers began their work four-years ago and are now able to publish their initial results. They plan to submit a grant application to the National Institutes of Health next year to continue funding the research.